Tag Archives: Kalen Delaney

Experts are Sharp

You know I was thinking just this morning about the last round of interviewing I did to find a new DBA at work.  And that of course got me thinking about some of the interviews I’ve done in the past.  There are a few that really stick out.  The ones that are sticking out right away are the ones who didn’t know anything and claimed that they had so much experience and were so good that they didn’t have to be bothered with memorizing every little thing anymore.

This astounds me because all the experts I know are really sharp and on top of their game.  So what these guys are telling me is that they’re so good they don’t have to demonstrate even the most basic knowledge of SQL because they’ve transcended above that?  If that’s the case then my mother’s 100x the DBA any of us will ever be because she doesn’t know the first thing about it.

I remember this one guy especially.  He claimed both on his resume and in person to be an expert in query tuning.  He said, I’ve never found anyone who’s my equal at tuning queries.  So armed with that bit of knowledge I set about quizzing him with the basics.  I mean after all, you have to just get the basics out of the way, right?  I asked him if he had ever worked with exec plans.  He said of course, you don’t tune queries without them.  I said, that’s what I think, but i just wanted to make sure we were on the same page.  And I then asked him how expert his knowledge was of exec plans.  He said he was a very deep expert and didn’t know anyone with his knowledge.  Wow, now I’m getting a little nervous, right?

So I started with the basics.  What’s the difference between an index scan and an index seek?  Well, I’m not sure the exact difference, but I know you want to get rid of one of them.  OK, which one?  I can’t remember.  Um, ok.

So what’s a bookmark lookup (this was back when SQL2K was stull ubiquitous)?  I’ve seen it before, but I’m not sure what it does.

We went back and forth like that a couple more times and I finally broke down and told him that there was no evidence that he had ever tuned a query because he didn’t even have basic knowledge of exec plans.  I asked him what he was basing his claim of being an expert on.  That’s when he let me have it.  Look, I’m an enterprise DBA and I don’t have to know every piddling definition you dig up out of BOL.  Maybe someday when you’re at the level I am you’ll understand.

Um… ok, I’d say we’re done, huh? 

So like I said, I was thinking about that this morning and while I can’t keep up with everything, and nobody can, I like to think that I’ve got a lot of the basics covered.  And the real experts certainly know their stuff.  Go ahead and see how many people would follow her if you asked Kalen how big a SQL page is and she couldn’t answer.  And how many people do you think would follow Paul Tripp if he couldn’t tell you what DBCC CheckDB() was for? 

It just doesn’t hold water.  So for those of you out there thinking you’re all the Pooh, go test yourself and see how much knowledge you really have.  You may find out you’re not as hot as you thought.

SQL Server Done Right

This is the perfect topic to go along with what I wrote on my other blog today in The real difference between SQL Server and Oracle.

I just got an email from the producer of the new Kalen Delaney series on SQL Server giving me my press pass into the online content for this series. I’ve only watched the 1st 9mins so far and already it’s exactly what I’m talking about in my other blog. Here’s Kalen Delaney who writes one of the most successful series on SQL Server (the other one is by the late Ken Henderson. I still have a hard time saying that), and she’s going the extra mile to put her book into a video training series where she explains the concepts herself.
I, like many other people learn better when things are explained to me than I do from a lifeless page. And Kalen’s an experienced teacher so she has a way of explaining things that make you just get it. Already in this video she’s already covered security of metadata and the sys schema. She’s actually explaining how this stuff fits together from the ground up. That’s how it’s done. I have no doubt that the rest of the series will contain the same deep-level understanding.

I think I’m going to enjoy this series and I’ll try to write-up a full report when I’m done. Or maybe I’ll just do it as I go along.

OK, so here’s the link to the site. You can order the DVD or you can watch it online. It’s good stuff. Seriously, go check it out if you haven’t.
I was recently chatting with Kalen in email and she told me that this is basically the course she teaches when she’s brought into a company to teach a class.

Actually, I didn’t mean this to be an official interview, but I’m going to go ahead and paste her email here. I’m sure she won’t mind (at least I hope not) and she explains it better than I would anyway. I typically don’t post emails without asking first, but she knows who I am and she answered my questions like she was being interviewed, so this one time I’m going to do it. But you’ll almost never see me take this liberty.

1. What material will this first DVD cover…

You can get information about my course here: http://www.insidesqlserver.com/Course%20Description%20and%20Outline.htm
The first DVD covers most of what is in Module 1.

2. What format will it take… will be be a group of slides and whitepapers, or screencast instruction by you…

The DVD will be a mixture of live capture of me talking, and screen captures of my slides and my demos.

3. Who all is involved in the project…

I am recording the class that I have been presenting all over the world for the last several years. Chuck Boyce, of AskaSQLGuru.com is doing the filming and editing. The business side is being managed by Peter Ward of www.WardyIT.com in Brisbane, Australia

4. How often can we expect to see a new DVD come out…

Since I have to fly to New York for filming, we are only able to do about one a month. In fact, I am just about to leave for the airport for the second round of filming.

5. What advantage will one have in ordering these over just getting the books…

Different people learn in different ways. If you like to hear and see someone explaining concepts, this can add to the benefit of the books. People pay a lot of money to attend my classes, but since I’m only one person, I can’t offer them that often. The DVDs are a chance to for anyone, anywhere to get to take my class. If you can read and absorb everything in the books on your own, the DVDs might not offer anything more.

So again, here’s the link to SQLServerDVD.com.